Flaming Wok with its assortment of Thai, Burmese, Singaporean, Malaysian and Indian cuisine is a lovely surprise on the IT Expressway

Ah, the unmistakable smell of stir fry! Grilled tofu...and broccoli...in a garlic paste. Following the trail, I reach the buffet table. At the Flaming Wok they take great pride in their Mongolian grill. Which explains the bunch of diners huddled around a table piling their bowls with vegetables, meat and sauces of their choice, before the chef tosses them all together in a hot pan. This restaurant with its bright yellow and red board stands out quite distinctly on the otherwise gray and businesslike IT corridor. It’s lunch time on a weekday, and finding a table seems like a task. Techies from neighbouring companies and a few families occupy most of the tables. My friend arrives looking rattled after a long drive from ‘the city’. Spotting a table, we rapidly throw our bags on it before anybody can beat us to it and bury our heads into the menu.  The restaurant serves Thai, Burmese, Singaporean, Malaysian and Indian food. Hence the confluence of biriyani and mee goreng or quesadilla and kothu parotta on peoples’ plates! We accommodate at least one dish from each cuisine, starting off with button mushrooms batter fried in a deliciously spicy soy sauce. The service is lightning quick here — the starters line up one after the other like balls out of a bowling machine. The ever-popular onion rings are a delight to bite into — crisp, round and golden; they’d look just as lovely as earrings. The chicken satay is a wee bit tough, and goes flying out to my fellow diner’s plate as I try to get it out of the skewer. Thankfully, she’s enamoured with the spicy Thai BBQ chicken just served. Grilled chicken marinated in Thai herbs sounds innocent enough... but it’s not. It’s fiery, and no, drinking water doesn’t help. What does help is the Thai coconut soup. It’s a relief as we help ourselves to spoonfuls of this white concoction heavily accented with coconut milk. Heavenly!

While deciding our main course they insist we try their vegetable pulao, apparently, their speciality. With tiny chunks of paneer, beans, cauliflower and carrot, the pulao has a buttery and mildly sweet taste, and is excellent. Couple it with their creamy paneer butter masala, and we most certainly have the winning combination from the menu. A close second is Mohinga, so full of flavour with pungent chilly and a curry paste. We also try the Madurai biriyani that’s cooked using not basmati but seeraga samba rice that’s popular in Madurai and a few other places down south. Spiked with spices this could well interest biriyani lovers.

To end the meal, we have the choice of sticky rice, jello in coconut milk, waffles, fried ice cream... The latest addition is Ferrero Rocher with vanilla ice cream, a done-to-death formula but they seem quite kicked about it. After the good meal they have served us, we don’t have the heart to turn down their earnest suggestion. Well, Ferrero Rocher and two generous scoops of silky vanilla ice cream... what’s not to like?

(Flaming Wok is located at 5/314, Okiyampet, Old Mahabalipuram Road. For details, call 6510-7886)